With a cold front pressing in – slowly – from the west and Hurricane Arthur pushing up from the south southern Virginia was in a convective squeeze play today. CAPE values were extreme (>3000) and there was little or no cap so storms went up very early…much earlier than I thought based on the short range models.

A strong line of storms had already popped up before noon and I was caught by surprise, necessitating a quick dash northward and then east on Rte 460 toward Bedford. I was able to stop for a while to watch, film, and live stream before needing to hop-scotch east and south to stay out of the heavy rain. As I looked west from the Montvale vicinity a lowering crossed left to right in front of me with rapid cloud motions. I labeled it a rotating wall cloud and sent in a photo to NWS Blacksburg:

Pushing east I stopped a couple more times to watch and live stream. This photo was taken from the Bedford Visitor Center looking northward at a cell that was severe-warned:

From here I dropped south on Rte 122 toward Moneta, turning west on a rural lane before reaching there. I stopped near the metropolis of Joppa Mill in Bedford county and watched this leading edge approach:

My son joined me shortly after this and we chased a cell that had gone up over Smith Mountain Lake but it soon did what most of the storms were doing today…it rained itself out and dissipated. We eventually wound up in Burnt Chimney and called it a day as the holiday weekend traffic swelled and the chasing became more “whack-a-mole” than following long-lived cells.
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